Soup's On:  Appetizers

By Liz Richell

At this busy time of year, many of you may not have time to indulge in relaxing restaurant dinners, but perhaps could use a couple of simple, easy-fix appetizer suggestions that can mostly be prepared ahead of time.  Here goes:

Ham asparagus bites
Flash cook asparagus spears to tender crisp.  Drain.
Spread thin slices of ham with 4 oz. soft cream cheese mixed with 2 t. hot horseradish, 2 t. mustard and ½ t. Worcestershire sauce. Wrap these ham slices around three asparagus spears. Cut in half. Arrange on a serving plate and chill until serving time.
Hot crab dip
8 oz. cream cheese
1 can drained crab meat
1 chopped green onion
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 T. cocktail sauce or ketchup
1 t. hot horseradish
Mix all ingredients.  Bake in a buttered dish for about 30 minutes.  If you like spicy, add a chopped, seeded jalapeno!   Serve with sturdy crackers. 

Yummy mushrooms
1-1/2 lbs. white button mushrooms
2 stick melted butter
2 packages dried ranch dressing mix
Clean the mushrooms and trim ends of stems.  Mix all ingredients and cook on low in a crock pot for an hour or so.  Serve in a pretty bowl with toothpicks.
Lentil dip 
Courtesy of Trader Joe’s, where you will find all ingredients:
1 box cooked lentils
1 container bruschetta sauce (find this near, the hummus)
1 block feta cheese
Crumble the lentils into a serving bowl, stir in the sauce. Crumble and stir in the feta. Serve with sturdy crackers (or a spoon!)  If there are leftovers, this makes an interesting salad.

Fire crackers 
There is absolutely no reason why these work, but they do!
Spread 2 sleeves of Ritz white or wheat crackers, overlapped, in a 9x13 plastic box with a lid.
Whisk together:
1 package dried ranch dressing mix
1-1/2 cups canola oil
2 t. garlic powder
1 t. cayenne pepper (or paprika if you don’t like much heat)
2 T. dried red pepper flakes
Pour this mixture evenly over the crackers.  Clamp on the lid.  Leave for five minutes.  Turn the box upside down –it’s all counter-intuitive, just do it! Leave for five minutes.  Repeat these two steps twice more each, a total of half an hour.  Strangely, these crackers will be crisp and very tasty. I do put a fold or two of paper towels in the bottom of the serving bowl or basket to catch any excess oil.
May health and happiness surround you during this 
wonderful festive season. Eat, drink and be merry!

December 2019